Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day, which it isn't. Many people also assume it to be a Mexican holiday, which it isn't. Cinco de Mayo is an American holiday that traces its roots to California and has been celebrated since here in the Golden State since 1863.
Cinco de Mayo marks the Mexican Army's 1862 victory over the Frogs at Puebla, which is pretty much the only place in Mexico where Cinco de Mayo is celebrated
Big surprise you say? Not so fast, there, cynical boys. That was an entirely different kettle of Frogs in those days. This was not the French Army driving tanks with rear view mirrors so they can see how the battle is going. In fact, the French were formidable opponents who hadn’t lost a battle in fifty years.
Texas-born General Zaragosa’s legendary tequila consumption is rumored to have given him the inspiration to lead his outgunned and outmanned troops in a decisive rout of the Foreign Legion and the French Army. The stunning defeat enraged Napoleon who responded with 30,000 troops to mop up so that Hapsburg Prince Maximilian could take over as head of state.
At the close of the US Civil War Union soldiers were discharged early if they agreed to join with the Mexican Army to fight the French. Things were so much simpler then.....
Tell ya what boys, them Mexicans is havin' some prollems with the pesky French. We're gonna cut you loose a little early so's you can give 'em a hand.
The good news is that the American Legion of Honor marched alongside the Mexican Army in the victory parade in Mexico City and Maximilian was executed. The bad news is that Col Diaz, who fought so decisively at Puebla, ultimately would become Mexico’s dictator.
And that, my friends, is what all the fuss is about.
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